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tv   Georgetown University Dedicates Campus Building to Slaves Sold in 1838  CSPAN  April 18, 2017 12:04pm-12:46pm EDT

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i know what the president thanks, i know what he has said about her and yet he reaches out to her so i'm just wondering what, maybe that's a good thing, you reach out that. >> it certainly undercuts the ongoing premise that he is not giving access to the press or he's not fair to the press. he does. he gives interviews. i just have to back up because you mention somebody by name who i regard as a very hard-working, honest journalist who happens to be a very good person. a mom of three who works hard and seems ubiquitous on print and on tv and has had a nice profile written about her. >> all right everybody.
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thank you, phil. i want to thank you all for being here this afternoon and i welcome all of you to georgetown university. we are gathered and behind me is isaac hopkins hall. [applause] right there. we are here to dedicate this afternoon, along with and marie hall, the oldest building of our campus just a short walk from here i wish to offer a special welcome to our community who are present this afternoon, some traveling a great distance to be here for this day which includes this dedication, our energy of remembrance, contrition and hope
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which concluded just a few months ago, and some special gatherings and presentations into the afternoon and this evening. i welcome all of you, especially the members of the hawkins family and all of the extended members of your family. we are grateful and honored by your presence and by the efforts of so many around the nation to share in the events with us, online and in new orleans and baton rouge. we want to thank you all. [applause] thank you all for being a part of this special day. i would also like to welcome our neighbors from around the city.
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i would like to welcome our speakers this afternoon. we would like to have members from our working group on slavery, memory and reconciliation in our jesuit community here to offer reflections to each of our speakers. members of the georgetown class of 2017 and are working group, this is karen harper royle, executive director of the gu 272 descendents association and a member of the queen emma mahoney family lines and the hawkins and butler family lines by marriage. also professor of american history studies and a member of our working group. jessica tilson, scott butler and reverend joseph of the society of jesus, director of the jesuit community. want to thank all of you for joining us and i look forward to your reflections at each of you
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will share with us in the ceremony. to our choir, the sounds of victory directed by mr. phil carter who also directs our gospel choir here at georgetown, i want to thank you for your performance this morning and you are leading us a little bit later today in the closing song, lift every voice and sing. it's my privilege to welcome to the podium our speakers who will begin our program. [applause] >> thank you for being here today. we are honored to be able to speak as student members of the
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working group on slavery memory and reconciliation. as my fellow working group member, professor carolyn once said, our work as a group was to help tear down the walls, the walls of mystery and silence and unknown, surrounding georgetown's historical ties to the institution of slavery. beyond tearing down the walls, we wanted to help bring this history directly to our community at georgetown. for us, this was very important to us. we knew that student knowledge and understanding of georgetown's troubled past was almost zero. we also knew, however, and perhaps surprising to some that this history has been known and taught and discussed at various points over the past few decades. that clearly didn't lead to sustained knowledge and awareness within our community and student body. how do we properly address that? this was a guiding question for us as students.
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i am here today and very encouraged by the dedication of isaac hawkins hall as a significant step in that direction, toward sustaining that awareness and preserving its history within our community. when students, present and future, come to know isaac hopkins, they will come to know georgetown's past. they will come to understand the injustice faced by the men, women and children who were sold by the society of jesus right here in maryland, the injustice that georgetown profited from. when student come to know and marie b kraft they will know a woman dedicated to her students and heard god or they will come to understand the perseverance she embodied weathering anti- black and anti- catholic discrimination all while caring
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for those right here in our neighborhood. >> when we recall history we draw upon the pieces that are easy. once discussed the history of the iconic buildings of georgetown, they no doubt recount the hall renamed for our former president but from this day forward, i am hopeful that recollection will include new pieces, that students will come to recall the history of isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft. history isn't always easy and enjoyable. the lives of them remind us as much. sometimes history is difficult and somber and riddled with injustice, but if there's one thing i've learned from my time at georgetown, it is that georgetown students are at their best when things are challenging. these buildings we dedicate today are surely appropriate samples of memorialized history, but beyond that, i hope they stand as constant challenges to all futures and the challenge to confront difficult history and
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it's a challenge to stand up to lingering injustice that remains in our world today. we may not be able to change the past, but a in understanding our history, we come to understand the role we have to play in the promotion of justice in our world today. isaac hawkins and marie b kraft will serve as reminders of that role in that challenge. thank you. [applause] >> in my remarks at the ceremony in november 2015, replacing the original names of these buildings with freedom and remembrance, i close my comments with a reminder that we are all daughters of georgetown's future. over one year later, i am proud to say that the georgetown community has deeply engaged with georgetown's relation to the institution of slavery from a variety of different
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perspectives. from dorm room discussions and personal introspective to creating thoughtful theater performances, students across campus have gaged with the deeper question on our proper role as members of the georgetown community. today, we remember to of the early members in the story of this hilltop. today, we are here to permanently dedicate isaac hawkins hall and anne-marie b kraft hall. today we re- acknowledge that torch down university, an institution which anchors a district that was founded to uphold an unprecedented conception of liberty and self-governance was built with the force labor of human beings that were simply referred to as hands. i hope that as we continue to remember the bravery and perseverance of anne-marie b kraft, isaac hawkins, and those
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who have come after them that we can come closer to grasping a true understanding of their distrust relationship with freedom. the enslaved africans and also the free blacks at the time, racism and segregation were constant figures in their social, political and economic lives. we know the legacies of these issues continue to be present in contemporary america. this understanding should inform the actions we take in this community to assure that the ideals of justice and access are equally attainable to the descendents and all of humanity. [applause] >> good afternoon. i first want to thank god for this absolutely beautiful day. [applause]
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thank you for inviting descendents to be a part of this program and thank you to the band for giving a few of our descendents an opportunity to share a little louisiana with you. i am honored to be here, representing the ancestors, my family, and the gu 272 descendents association for the rededication of freedom hall and remembrance hall. as descendents of the 272 enslaved men, women and children who were sold by the jesuits of georgetown university, we come to honor isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft, a free woman of color and all of the ancestors who were enslaved by the jesuits and all enslaved people everywhere. we know we stand on the shoulders of giants and of those who came before us.
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we know that this is the beginning of a journey for many of us, a journey that we have been on for 200 years, a journey to show respect to those who were enslaved, as with many movements in this country that pushed change, this movement came from the youth. this movement has defined us in ways that we may not have defined ourselves because it was students from georgetown that led georgetown to recognize that more needed to be done than simply acknowledging their history with slavery. the actions of georgetown students have placed all of us on a journey together toward honoring our enslaved ancestors by working toward healing and reconciliation. this could have happened at any time in the history of georgetown university, but it has happened now, at a time when youth across this country are standing up for the injustices
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that they are witnessing in their communities and on the campuses. we thank the students of georgetown today because of their actions. two buildings that were once named for our ancestors and flavors will now be named for the enslaved and the free woman of color. [applause] today's renaming of these two buildings as a part of the university's reconciliation process is a step in the right direction toward healing a painful past, just as a few other colleges and universities have done by recognizing the enslaved in very visible ways on their campuses. universities like georgetown all have the opportunity to collaborate regarding their influences on all of our syste systems, whether it's government, political, religious or educational as they trained young mines for leadership.
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the influences of great institutions help define our future. moving forward with descendents, perfectly positioned georgetown and the maryland jesuits to be a standardbearer in recognizing and reconciling a famed legacy. our history has shown us that the vestiges of slavery are a continuum that began with the kidnapping of our people from their motherland, keeping them in bondage with the brutality of american slavery, jim crow, segregation, redlining, the school to prison pipeline and the over incarceration of people of color. [applause] naming these buildings for isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft is a beginning of our journey
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together toward healing from the jesuits of georgetown's like a fiend of slavery. just as georgetown is rewriting its history by making amends, it must be responsible for telling its history for making sure that others understand what truly happened to bring this university into existence and how we can all move forward together by one continuing through educated students about their history and with slavery, and as we mentioned, this buildings, these buildings will forever be a marker to continue that education. forming linkages with other universities to continue to work toward healing, working with other archival's, wait a minute, let that pass, working with other archival entities to preserve and share the rich bounty of documents from the archives, and by working with the community to repair the harm
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caused by a legacy of slavery. doing this, we will all have a better understanding of what america was, what it is and what it could be. as a representative of the 272 descendents association, we look forward to our journey together as members of the georgetown family to reconcile this very painful past. thank you. [applause] >> on behalf of the faculty and staff that had the honor of sitting on the working group on slavery, memory and reconciliation, i want to thank all of the families who have traveled to be here with us today. as we continue to deliberate about struggle with and imagine together the possibilities of georgetown entering a more honest chapter of its life of
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service toward our students and the world, let us consider the words of historian john hope franklin. we must tell the unvarnished truth. when people ask me about the experience of being a member of the working group, i say that i expected to learn some history, but i will never forget that in this process, in meeting the descendents of isaac hawkins and in discovering the good works of anne-marie b kraft, and in breaking bread and worshiping alongside families who have traced their stories to georgetown, in all of these moments, i have learned more about grace than anything else. in june 2015, months before we gather together as a working group, the president of the united states delivered a sermon at charleston immanuel african methodist church. the site of a violent racist tragedy nine days earlier. president obama reflected, according to the christian tradition, grace is not earned.
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grace is not merited. it is not something we deserve. rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of god as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessing. grace period as a nascent, out of this terrible tragedy, god has visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we have been blind. he has given us the chance where we have been lost to find our best selves. we may not have earned it, this grace, with our rancor and complacency and shortsightedness and fear of each other, but we got it all the same. he gave it to us anyway. he is once more given us grace, but it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with gratitude and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift. on this day, i found myself at a loss for words, to fully
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describe what this building dedication means on this campus in the city, in this historical moment. i do know this, these buildings will serve as an invitation to all that seek knowledge at georgetown. in learning about isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft, they will find grace will ultimately set us free. if isaac hawkins were here today, to see what we have built on this hilltop upon the rock of the catholic faith, if anne-marie b kraft could see georgetown today and travel along the shores of the potomac river and see the city she served, if they could see the roots planted in the memorial trees and the seeds sown in our nation, would they find us worthy of their gift? the road ahead for all of us is long. today we rest and. reporter: member and we celebrate. in thinking about this and i found myself visiting my angelos phone delivered at the migration
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of bill clinton. her poem provided the history of the world and humankind from the perspective of iraq, a river in the tree. she wrote, either rock, either the river, i the tree, i am yours. your passages have been paid. if the pure faces, you have a piercing need for this bright morning donning for you. history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unloved and if faced with courage, need not be lived again. lift up your eyes. give birth to the dream. women, children, men, take it into the palms of your hands, molded into the shape of your most private need, sculpted into the image of your most public self. lift up your heart. each hour holds new chances for new beginnings. do not be wedded forever to be feared.
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offer w space to place new steps of change. here on the pulse of this fine day, you may have the courage to look up an upon and out the rock, the river, the tree, your country. here on the pulse of this new day you may have the grace to look up and out and into your sister's eyes, into your brothers face, your country, and say simply, very simply with hope, good morning. [applause] first and foremost, i would like to introduce myself. i'm a student majoring in microbiology in louisiana. my name is jessica. [applause] i would like to welcome and thank everyone for giving me an
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opportunity of this historical moment. my journey begins. [inaudible] i knew how she felt about being a descendent of cornelius hawkins. it started in 1999. i delivered a premature baby. his name was charles. medical research had not advanced in an area that his condition developed. he had a 10% of's arrival. eventually, he would need around-the-clock care if he did survive. i decided to remove him off life support. later i delivered another premature baby she had also developed the disease that had taken her mother brothers life
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but because of the advances in research, the same institution that can find my ancestors is the same institution that found the cure for my daughter. i feel you have given the people an opportunity at life and i know my other ancestors would not want me to be angry because they know what happens was horrible but their great-great-grandfathegranddaug. she is three years old. [applause] i ask for nothing for myself, but i ask that georgetown university and continue extending your hand to help any community that needs a helping hand. you continue to save precious lives at georgetown university hospital. you never know who will be
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affected and knock on your door. most importantly, continue living your lives and fulfilling your dreams. i would like to say hi to my daughter. [applause] >> thank you jessica. it was a beautiful reflection, and for the vision and determination that you have brought to helping all of us better know your family and the person whom i whose name now mas this building, isaac hawkins. today, in gathering to dedicate to buildings in the heart of our
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campus for isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft, we honor to individuals. their lives, their stories, their families. we recall the injustices they faced in our role in them and we bear witness to a history that have been forgotten. we do this in the context of the university community, a place animated by a shared commitment to push against and push through blocks to understanding, blocks to knowing, blocks to freedom, blocks to human flourishing. we have a responsibility in the pursuit of inquiry and the formation of our students and the service to others to question, challenge and critique received knowledge. we have a responsibility to seek a deeper grasp of truth and a deeper understanding of reality. we have a responsibility to one another as we engage in this work, work that involves exposing harsh realities, that
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we care for one another and presuppose the very best in one another. our catholic and jesuit tradition sustains us in this effort to seek the truth. it provides a framework, calling to engage deeply with the tensions and conflicts, the questions and challenges facing our communities and the spirit of solidarity. in december 2015 when we provisionally named these buildings freedom hall and remembrance hall, calling the recommendation of our working group on slavery, memory and reconciliation for a temporary set of names, while we engaged in further conversation as a community, we shared these wor words. our lives are given shaped by our histories. by ideas of who we are and where we've come from. our communities are given shaped by our histories, by the values,
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traditions and memories that we inherit. history is alive for us at every moment. we are just one community, but right now, every community is being asked to look deep within themselves and to find the very best of which they are capable. as our nations oldest catholic and jesuit university, we are a place that grew alongside our new republic. as we seek to more deeply understand our story, we to deepen our understanding of our shared american story. we must confront this history to make visible this history, to ensure this history is alive to us. the enslavement of africans and african-americans by our community, people like isaac, his elder son charles and daughter nelly, each one of the enslaved women, children and men of the maryland plantation, we
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too must make visible the lives and experiences of freed blacks during a time of enslavement. people like anne-marie, daughter of william b kraft and cyril daniels b kraft. anne-marie founded the school for black girls in the town of georgetown in the 1820s. she later became sister mary aloysius of the newly established sister's of providence. we seek to remember, to honor and to recognize the lives, hardships and legacies of isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft as we learn more about their lives in the context of which they lived, we will ensure their history, our history is memorialized in these spaces.
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in coming to know isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft and honoring and memorializing them, in insuring their place in presence in our communities history, we also come to know ourselves better, the challenges we face and what is required of us as we address the challenges in our moment. all the share in responsibility, the choice articulated why the historian 60 years ago when he provided a new framing of the history of our nation when he said what we need to do as an engine as a nation and individual members osocietis to confront our past and see it for what it is, having done that we should then make a good-faith effort to turn our history around. this is a moment for all of us to more deeply understand our history, to envision a new
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future informed buyer past, and formed and shaped by the values we share and that we seek to uphold. [applause] >> i am bite us now to take a moment of silence, to savor what it is we feel in this moment and to enjoy the beautiful song of the birds we hear. amazing grace.
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let us pray. almighty and ever living god, it is our human history and human circumstance, both the sublime and the sinful, that brings us to this moment of dedication. at this moment in our human history, at this moment in this university's history, we ask for your divine blessing. history allows us to presume that isaac hawkins was heartened and consoled by his family, as well as by his friendship with other slaves, but history also allows us to preme he was hurt by his enslavement and treatment as a slave. today, with humility and sincerity, we remember him and honor him and all those who labored with him as slaves to this university's benefit.
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we pray they be with you now, abiding in your presence and your glory. we remember and honor anne-marie b kraft twos vision and dedication and generosity allowed her to transplant slavery and racism, to be an educational pioneer and provide a formal education for african-american young women. may the naming of these buildings in honor of isaac hawkins and anne-marie b kraft be a remembrance and inspiration that all human beings are endowed by you, our creator with certain inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit
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of happiness. further, today's dedication reminds and inspires all to appreciate and respect all the wonderful diversity with which you endow humankind. gracious god, we asked for your blessing upon isaac hawkins hall and anne-marie b kraft hall as well as upon all who will walk by, pass through and reside in these halls. we ask for your blessing on all of us gathered for this occasion. may we make our own the words of your profit, act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our god. amen. >> thank you very much for
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offering this blessing, and to all of our speakers, connor and karen and marsha and jessica, we are grateful for your words and your presence in your contributions to our ongoing work as we honor the lives of isaac hawkins and anne-marie kraft. thank you for being here as we mark these halls with their permanent names, i hope the spirit of the gathering helps to shape the history, the memory and the future work of our community. to bring our ceremony to a close, our choir will lead us in one more song and we will conclude with the ringing of the bell from the tower in healy hall. let me close with two announcements. for the members of the community who wish to take part in a large group photo, we ask you to come to the front of the stage after
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we finish this song and to stand by isaac hawkins all in our photographer and events team will help direct you. following this photo, the community is invited to a special dialogue and formal launch which will begin at 130. please note lunch will be available for attendees in the session immediately following the ceremony. for those not taking part in the photo, we ask you to proceed directly to lunch on hughley lawn, right through the center doors. again, thank you for being here. it's been a privilege and an honor to share in this moment with all of you. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪
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